Ticks more than just garden pests

Deer in Oak Bay

I am an animal lover and gardener and am trying to protect us, our garden and our dog with organic methods. What scares me the most is not the deer but the ticks they may carry. Ticks are one problem, but many ticks carry Lyme disease. I am worried about Lyme disease and the related 11 co-infections.

Several years ago the Oak Bay News featured an article and photo of Peggy M. who got Lyme disease from a tick in her garden in Oak Bay.

We purchased a tick remover from our vet and I understand Lee Valley now sells a tick remover which attaches to your key ring.

I have two close friends who have Lyme disease and the associated co-infections and neither will ever work again. This is a life-changing disease.

Several years ago we attended a Lyme disease information evening hosted by former MLA David Cubberly and Dr. Ernie Murakami. It was upsetting and frightening, to watch the sick people arrive in the auditorium at UVic, barely able to walk, wearing dark glasses and using wheelchairs, both young and old.

Ticks like to hide in damp mulches. They die quickly in sunny and dry environments.

To protect yourself, construct physical barriers to discourage deer from entering your yard, remove leaf litter, use fewer groundcover plantings, clear tall grasses, keep the ground under bird feeders clean, stack wood in dry areas, and keep playground equipment, decks and patios away from yard edges and trees. In the garden, wear light clothing and when you come indoors, wash all of your clothing and shower yourself, checking your body for any ticks. They can be as small as the head of a pin. The one we found in our house looked like a small, round, grey river pebble.

Murakami and Cubberley will again be showing the educational film “Under Our Skin” at Camosun College, Fisher 100, Lansdowne Campus, Camosun College, 3100 Foul Bay Rd. on Aug. 14 at 1 p.m.

Diane MacRae